Art and Soul: Virginia Beach 2018


I'm excited to be heading to Virginia Beach in October to teach another round of Art and Soul. I'll be teaching three workshops, and I'd love to have you join me in the creative fun.

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I kick off the week with my Monster Maker Workshop as an evening class on Monday, October 1 from 6:30-9:30 PM, so come on out and get in touch with your inner mad scientist as we create cute or scary or silly creatures and monsters!

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On Tuesday, October 2, I'll be teaching my popular Stencil Savvy class where students learn the basics of creating and cutting their very own stencils. So, if you love using stencils, but want to learn to create your own, please join me from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.


And finally, I'll be teaching my Luminous Liquid Layers as an all-day workshop on Thursday, October 4, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Come out and join me in learning to use liquid acrylics to create layered work that seems to glow!

I hope you can join me in one or all of my workshops in Virginia Beach!

Journal Friday #69: Subtlety and Investigation


It's been a busy week, so I've turned once again to some simple techniques to keep myself working in the journal. I focused mainly on shading with graphite and colored pencil to keep my hand moving. This added some subtle results to the pages, but not everything in the journal has to be big and grand. 

Like I said, it's been a busy week. I've been teaching a high school summer art program, but as the students worked, I was able to explore some ideas in the journal. Based on some recent colored pencil work on black paper, I've been investigating the notion of holes. I've explored these ideas on and off over the past five or six years, and the ideas have floated back up to the surface. I want to explore them more and figure why this notion appeals to me and what I want to do with it, so, I've been sketching and reflecting in the journal. I haven't come to any solid conclusions, but that's the beauty of art - the journey to discovery.


Journal Friday #68: Processing


The journal is an ideal place for processing the good and the bad of life, and over the past few weeks I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over what has been happening in this country. I don't want to get all political, but the divisiveness, the eroding away of so many things, the hate, and so, so much more. It's all been getting to me, and so I turned to my journal throughout the week.

I really thought that I'd delve into a new two-page spread or at least work on a spread that I already began, and create something specific and purposeful. But instead, I found myself returning to some simple techniques like embellishing words, doodling, painting, working with watercolor pencil, and even drawing in a calendar. All of these techniques are simple and don't require a lot of concentration, so my mind was free to wander and ponder. And it dawned on me that you don't have to do something poignant and deep to process emotions. Just giving yourself the space to sort through the thoughts and feelings can do wonders.

Now I'm not a licensed art therapist. I'm just a guy that's done a lot of work in my journal, and I know that the journal helps me to sort through issues. Though I didn't come to any cathartic conclusion this week, I've been able to come to terms with some of the anxiety and worry, and I'm filled with a bit more optimism.


Journal Friday #67: Compulsions and Obsessions


This week has been a busy and exhausting week as I started my summer teaching two kids' summer camps, so I haven't had a lot of time to work in the journal. But I've eked out a little time here and there. During busy times, I like to use what Dave and I call compulsions and obsessions. These are marks and techniques that are easy to add pages, and I come back to them time and time again. This week, I spent time adding some rectilinear lines to the background of a page, filling in some letters, thickening lines and shapes, and adding some spirals.

It's not much, but the the steady accumulation of actions leads to rich, full pages.

Journal Friday #66: Contemplative Mark Making


It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I've been focusing on slowing down and finding time to work in the journal. In order to slow down, I've been concentrating a lot of my efforts on contemplative mark making over the past couple of weeks allowing myself to get more present with the art materials and techniques. It seems that as life gets busy, the art making is hurried and rushed happening in fits and starts, bits and parts. So, I've turned to tried and true materials and techniques to help me be more deliberate and contemplative.

For me contemplative mark making is all about repetitive actions that don't require a lot of thought and concentration. This allows the hand to move while the mind focuses on the physical act of making the mark. I like to turn to slow and deliberate techniques such as shading with graphite or colored pencil, drawing short repeating lines and shapes, or creating radiating or web-like designs.

I get caught up in the motion of my hand, and my mind has a tendency to wander a bit as thoughts about all kinds of things come up. In a way, it's like mowing the yard. The activity requires a bit of awareness as not to be boring, but it is just monotonous enough to allow the mind the freedom to churn and turn. I try to be mindful and to stay present with the physical act focusing my full attention on the shading or the drawing, but it's easy for my mind to chase the random thoughts that come up. In the end, I let the thought go and come back to the pen or the pencil point and the line or mark that it's making.

Here's to slowing down, and being deliberate with our marks!

Journal Friday #65: Getting Back to Work


It's been a few busy weeks around here, and I haven't had much of a chance to work in my journals. I dedicated the bulk of my time and energy these past weeks getting ready for the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour that was this past weekend.

So, instead of working in my journals, I clean and organized the studio, purging a lot of old artwork. I also painted the floor and rearranged some of the furniture in the studio. Despite a time crunch, I got the studio ready and had a great weekend on the tour. I really like how the floor turned out, and I am glad that I was able to sort, purge, and organize.

I was finally able to work in the journal this week. I primarily continued adding layers to pages in progress. Using watercolor, watercolor pencil, collage, and even a little acrylic paint, I further developed pages in all three of my current journals creating some rich layers on some pages and in some initial layers on others. All in all, it was just some typical work.

Journal Friday #64: Artistic Accomplices and Layers


Although it has been a busy week in the studio of cleaning, purging and organizing, I have found some time to work in my journal, especially on Monday when Dave came down for a good chunk of the Day, and we spent the day in the studio working in our journals. There is something about making art along with someone else, and it has been quite a while since Dave and I got together to simply work in our journals. It was good working and chatting.


As I've mentioned before, my journaling process is a slow accumulation of marks, colors, lines, textures, ideas, and so much more, and I build up pages layer by layer. It's not uncommon for some pages to have 10 or more layers, and it is this build up that gives many of my pages their richness. Much of my journal work this week has been working in all of my current journals, adding layers of materials and techniques, trying to build richness. Right now I have three journals - a large 11x14 journal which is my basic, everyday journal; a 5.5x8.5 journal where I am focusing on how colors, techniques, materials, and ideas can link and connect pages creating a true visual narrative, and a 4x6 collaborative journal that I am sharing with a friend in North Carolina. It's interesting to work in journals of various sizes, since each size poses it's own challenges, and the size affects how ideas, shapes, and colors relate. I like having multiple journals going simply for the fact that as I allow something in one journal to dry, I can work in another, and it's quite easy to rotate through them.

A few pages from the large journal.

A few pages from the collaborative journal.

Finally a page from the visual narrative journal.


Purging, Letting Go, and Making Space


As I get ready for the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour in a couple of weeks, I have tackled not only cleaning and organizing my studio, but also painting the floor which means clearing the studio of pretty much everything. Though I began sorting and organizing a couple of weeks ago, I am feeling the pinch now, and I’ve kicked up my efforts quite a few notches. I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished, but it’s a very daunting task.


One very positive thing has already emerged from all the cleaning and organizing. I have been purging — a lot. I’m probably like many artists who have tons of stuff — materials and supplies, unfinished work, old artwork, scraps of paper, experimental pieces, books, papers, and so much more. But here lately I have been really hating all the stuff that’s crammed into my studio, which is a one-car garage. Despite multiple purges over the past couple of years, there’s still so much that it’s downright overwhelming, and I’m tired of the clutter and the junk.

So, I’m purging, clearing space, and combatting the clutter.

It began a couple of weeks ago, as I began sorting through my fodder, ephemera, and scraps. Now, I’m not one to go to a store and buy stuff, but I collect a lot in my day-to-day life. I pick up postcards or business cards from businesses, restaurants, and shops. I get maps when I travel, and I keep my metro passes, bus tickets, and parking vouchers. I get stickers from everywhere, and coasters from breweries and bars. I collect much much more with the intention of gluing it all into my journals and art, but I don’t do a very good job of keeping up. It piles piles up.

As I began sorting through the fodder, I used some of it, held onto some of it, but got rid of so much more of it. Even though there was a part of me that wanted to hold on to it saying, “But I might need it in the future. I can use it in some art,” I had to let go, so many things ended up in recycling. Then I moved onto my artwork. This was a bit harder, and the emotional pull to keep it was even stronger. But I pressed on and sorted and purged and let go of so much. A lot of old, experimental artwork ended up in the trash or in recycling, and some of it ended up on the fire pit. It was a symbolic release of the stuff that keeps weighing me down. It was a symbolic purge by fire.

It’s liberating yet emotional to let this stuff go, much of it has been sitting around the studio for years, and though there’s that tug as I toss it, I truly know that I’m better off letting go. I’m never going to finish these or do anything with them, and much of this artwork is not my best. They’re pieces from long ago. Pieces where I was figuring out my style. Pieces that were experimental and crude and just not things that need to be out in the world. I have to let them go.

As an artist, it’s so easy to cling to the things that I have made — to the things that I have brought into existence, and there is a real attachment to these pieces because of the time, effort, and thought that I have put into them. But if I cling to these things, if I hold tightly onto all of these things from the past, I can’t move forward. The past can weigh us down, and the only way forward is to make space for the future by letting go of the things of the past. As long as all of this stuff clutters up my environment, my space, and my mind, I stay stuck when I so want to move forward, grow, and evolve. I need to let it go, clear the ground, and start new.

The process has continued with many other things in the studio, and I’m eager to get it all sorted, to let go of even more, to make space for new ideas, new work, new adventures, so I am slogging forward, digging through, and making space.

I can’t wait to share the final outcome.

The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenge: Part 10 Now Available

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Part 10 of The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenge is finally available. I had every intention of publishing it at the beginning of the month, but the past couple of months have been rather busy. I just didn't get it finished. But it's in the Shop now.

Part 10 contains 31 new challenges to keep you creating daily. I hope that you you find it of some value! To purchase or to find out more, click here.

21 SECRETS The Best of 2014 & 2015


It's been rather busy around here lately. So busy in fact, that I haven't had time to share some awesome news.

Back in 2015, David and I were proud to be part of 21 SECRETS, and we offered an online workshop, along with 20 other artists through Connie Solera's Dirty Footprints Studio. It was great to be a part of this endeavor, and we are pretty stoked to announce that our workshop has been re-released as part of the 21 SECRETS The Best of 2014 & 2015!

How awesome is that? But this time, we join 36 others in presenting a great variety of visual journal workshops, and we hope that you can be a part of it. And, It's such a deal! You get 37 amazing workshops for only $128, and we're not talking about short little demos. We're talking about full on, awesome workshops with a 300+ page PDF ebook, and videos galore.

We hope that you can be a part of this amazing opportunity.

For more information or to purchase, go to the 21 SECRETS website.